The Rapidian

Immigrant Heritage Month Profile: Meet Sandi Broomberg Simms

In celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, this series features profiles of community members who have immigrated to Grand Rapids.
Sandi Broomberg Simms

Sandi Broomberg Simms

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For Immigrant Heritage Month, I asked several friends and connections who immigrated to Grand Rapids to share a little about their heritage. The goal of this endeavor is to help educate and inform myself and others in the community about the rich cultures of our neighbors. And, to celebrate the ways that these individuals have contributed to what we know as American culture today. I asked each of them the same questions and their responses are all featured here in the Profile section of The Rapidian. 

Sandi Broomberg Simms is a project manager at a Grand Rapids area electronics company. I met Sandi in Laura Armenta’s Global Jam class at Armentality Movement Arts Center. She was a fun addition to our group of dancers and brought extra energy (and great moves) to every class.

I asked Simms: What is an important part of your culture/heritage that you want to preserve in your life and also want to share with American culture? And, what in American culture do you embrace?

Simms said: "One of the most important aspects of my South African culture that I have preserved in my family is the simple act and joy of sharing a home cooked meal of fresh, healthy ingredients with family and friends. We sit around the dinner room table and eat and laugh, drink wine, and share our lives. I love this tradition. It helps ground us and teaches my kids the incredible importance of friendship, family, humor, honest conversations, and slowing down once in a while.

What in American culture do I embrace?

I really love the American ideal of personal freedom. America offers incredible freedom to be an individual for those brave enough to embrace their own talents, desires, and passions. With that freedom comes the responsibility to pay it forward, to take care of those coming up behind us, and to protect those, human and animal alike who can't protect themselves. I really love that about America. It bodes with my values and how I choose to live my life.

My name is Sandi Broomberg Simms. I came to Grand Rapids from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa in 1987. I went to MSU, met my husband in my last year of college, and the rest, as they say, is history!”

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